Tenth week tears: the internship ends

It all wound to a close today. You know, I thought I was ready. And in one sense, I was — I am.

In the sense that I'm ready to move on to the next phase of my life, to get settled in New York (two weeks baby!) and to start grad school, I was ready for this internship to end.

Yet somehow I was not prepared for the end. I thought, because lately I've been antsy, counting down the days until I reach New York City, I could easily leave this place.

But The Messenger has proven hard to get free of. Today was a most excellent day.

The ever-strong Laura Buchanan with her burger before the challenge began.

It started well and only got better when Jessica, Luke, Laura and I went to the Kickin' Kafe down the street from work and watched Laura eat a five-pound, fully dressed hamburger along with a half-pound of fries.

She only had 45 minutes in which to best the beef, batter the burger ... you get the picture.

I'm proud of my Messenger coworkers :)

After returning to the office, we worked for a while and then gathered for cake. And people said nice things, and it was lovely.

It didn't start to really sink in that it was over until we returned to the newsroom and everyone started wrapping up for the week. Suddenly it felt like someone had turned on a waterfall behind my eyes, and I was fighting to keep from crying.

And because I am a strong, stoic woman, I didn't shed a tear.

Until I got in the car and began the last march up Main Street toward my home-away-from-home for the summer.

You guys, this internship has been incredible. It's not that I wrote award-winning articles or investigated incredible levels of corruption within the local government. I reported on kids' summer camps and new parking lots opening up downtown. It was small-town stuff.

The beauty of the internship was in the daily ins and outs of the newspaper business. The joy was in waking up every morning knowing I got to spend eight hours in a work environment that was filled with camaraderie and fun. The thing that kept me going was the excitement of walking into the office not knowing what the day was going to bring — I might be sent out to photograph a new swing-set at the park or an accident on the side of the road and end up locked in the back of a cop car for 15 minutes.

While those things might not sound like the most exciting events in the world, they were to me, because they symbolized what it means to be a journalist.

I was working under a deadline, and every day I had to come in and write a story for the next day; if I didn't, the paper wouldn't quite turn out the way it was supposed to.

I was an integral part of the team. I was a member of the newsroom. I was the intern, yes, but I was also an important piece of the workings of the newspaper.

Suffice it to say, I loved my time at The Messenger. It's something I will always remember and treasure. It was a learning experience as well as a job.

I've changed a lot during my time in Madisonville, and not just in the superficial ways — the switch to Apple products, the loss of my bangs — but also in the deeper ones. I'm more confident, much more able to receive and accept criticism and, I think, a lot better as a writer and journalist than I was before.

Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope this is just the first step to a future filled with journalism. Hopefully it'll be in a big city this time, though — yes, New York, I am looking at you.

Laura laughs as she gets close to finishing her challenge.

Oh, and if you're wondering how the burger challenge ended, Laura ran out of time and was unable to finish the giant piece of food. She put up a valiant effort, though.